III Points 2017, which begins next Friday, October 13, is so close we can almost feel the music pulsating through our bodies. Headliners the xx, Nicolas Jaar, and Gorillaz will make this edition the festival's biggest year yet by a mile. At New Times, we're buzzing about more than just the music.
Typically, by this time in advance of a festival, we've figured out the lineup leaves a lot to be desired in the diversity department. We dream of the day when we'll no longer have to write think pieces about racial, gender, or genre lines. Music festivals are overwhelmingly attended by the younger generation, and, ideally, you'd think they'd offer a blueprint of the world millennials envision. But so far, the lineups of many of these festivals look a lot like the corporate staff of 1980s business firms: mostly white, straight, and overwhelmingly male.
We're happy to say III Points is the exception in Miami. The festival is futuristic not only because of its technological component and installations but also because of the platform it provides queer artists, female performers, and people of color.
These days, you often need a magnifying glass to find women's names on festival lineups, but at III Points, the scales tip closer to equality. Here's a roundup of ten of the badass women you'll get to hear at III Points. And here's hoping for even better odds next year.
1. The xx. Admit it: You were holding out on III Points tickets, trying to be responsible and save that money for paying bills. Then the xx was announced as a headliner, and you made it rain like Drake at Tootsie's after getting some "shoulder" rubs.
The xx will close out the Mind Melt stage Sunday night after much-anticipated sets from Bonobo and Perfume Genius. Lead singer Romy Madley Croft's sweet and endearing vocals will make the painful process of parting with a perfect weekend a little easier. Don't think of it as goodbye: At the rate it's going, III Points will definitely be back next year. 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, October 15, on the Mind Melt stage.
2. Mr Twin Sister. Singer Andrea Estrella fronts electro-funk-dance band Mr Twin Sister, formerly Twin Sister. The band, with its merging of dance-oriented elements within the context of a live band, sums up the spirit of III Points.
Mr Twin Sister caught the ear of Dr. Dre around the time Kendrick Lamar was recording his breakthrough album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and the legendary hip-hop producer ended up sampling the band's song "Meet the Frownies" for Lamar's album. The song wound up becoming Lamar's debut single on a major label. It's been a minute since Mr Twin Sister released new music, but the group has kept busy touring the indie festival circuit in the meantime. 11:05 to 11:50 p.m. Saturday, October 14, on the S3ctor 3 stage.
3. Pumarosa. The London-based band is making the trek across the pond just ahead of an opening gig with Interpol, and Pumarosa will close out the year opening for Depeche Mode on the iconic band's European tour. It's high praise for a group that's still touring in support of its debut album.
Pumarosa generated interest in 2015 with its seven-minute epic song, "Priestess," and on "Honey," lead singer Isabel Muñoz-Newsome sounds like Debbie Harry warning us about the impending apocalypse. The band's sound is urgent, but the urge to let go and dance eventually takes over. 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 15, on the Mind Melt stage.
4. Virgo. We're not saying Virgo and the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are the same person, but they've never been spotted in the same place at the same time. One big difference between the two is that while the White Witch spends her spare time using Turkish delights to lure children, Virgo occupies her time making spacey synth beats and videogames.
Beyoncé may have pioneered the visual album, but last year Virgo released a single-player RPG to accompany her EP Water Planet. The videogame lets players explore an alien water world as they dive into four levels, each corresponding to a song on the album. 6:20 to 6:50 p.m. Saturday, October 14, on the Mind Melt stage.
5. Holly Hunt. One other asset to III Points' lineup is its willingness to place established Miami talent alongside acts that have garnered regional, national, and even international acclaim. This is especially beneficial for bands like Holly Hunt, which might not be as well-known outside the Magic City but that can keep up with and outplay the best of them.
Drummer Beatriz Monteavaro is the definition of a badass and the steady backbone of a band that experiments with coloring outside the lines of drone and psychedelia but always finds its way back. Holly Hunt is back for round two after playing III Points last year. 6:20 to 6:40 p.m. Saturday, October 14, on the S3ctor 3 stage.
6. King. The music of this trio — comprising twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and musical companion Anita Bias — offers a simultaneous glimpse into the future and the past, with its blend of electronically embellished R&B soul that takes on gospel tones and pushes the boundaries of genre classification while harking back to Marvin Gaye's later sound and Michael Jackson circa "Human Nature."
At its best, III Points is a festival that predicts the coming tides in music. King's sound is a welcome manifestation of the endless possibilities available in the internet age, when artists constantly cross-pollinate and learn from creators well beyond their stated genre. 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, October 13, on the S3ctor 3 stage.
7. Hundred Waters. This band straddles the line between electronic and folk music, and between the underground and some big-name supporters. Skrillex signed the group to his label OWSLA in 2012, but Hundred Waters' music is more meditative and harmonic than the bombastic dubstep for which Skrillex is best known.
The song "Show Me Love" is a gorgeous and necessary mantra in this era of violent division. "Don’t let me show cruelty/Though I may make mistakes/Don’t let me show ugliness/Though I know I can hate," lead singer Nicole Miglis pleads, voicing a sentiment the world should hear right now. 1 to 2 a.m. Saturday, October 14, on the S3ctor 3 stage.
8. Kelsey Lu. Kelsey Lu's debut EP, Church, is named for the venue in which it was recorded, and it's an apt title for a multitude of reasons. Growing up the daughter of musicians who were practicing Jehovah's witnesses, Lu was raised on a steady musical diet of classic jazz and rock, but her parents controlled the music and media she could consume. When she left home for college, the classically trained cellist expanded her horizons to include modern sounds such as hip-hop and began using a loop pedal to perform.
Her sparse music takes its time, building slowly and often taking minutes for her vocals to soar. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and slow down to Kelsey Lu's music between rushing from one festival stage to another. 10:05 to 10:45 p.m. Saturday, October 14, on the S3ctor 3 stage.
9. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. III Points is diverse in terms of genre, but it leans heavily toward the electronic. One of the festival's greatest strengths is its ability to widen the tent for both die-hards and listeners who are just dipping their toes into the electronic-music waters. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is one artist who will please the ears of both groups.
Smith attended Berklee College of Music and formed an indie-folk band there, but her music veered in a radical direction when she began exploring the musical possibilities with synthesizers. Her music sounds like a tidal wave washing over you in slow motion. Her latest release, The Kid, is a heady concept double-album following the stages of human cognitive-emotional development, and with songs such as "I Am a Thought," "In a World, but Not of the World," and "Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am," it promises to be a head trip for III Points' psychedelic travelers. 7 to 7:45 p.m. Friday, October 13, on the Main Frame stage.
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10. Kali Uchis. This Colombian-American singer is your favorite artist's favorite rising pop star, and she's right on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough. Her 2015 debut EP, Por Vida, generated underground buzz with sleeper internet hits such as "Ridin Round" and production from Tyler the Creator, Diplo, and fellow III Points act Badbadnotgood.
Both Juanes and III Points headliners Gorillaz featured Uchis on their albums this year, and she released "Tyrant," the lead-off single from her forthcoming debut full-length album. She embarked on her first headlining tour this summer in support of the single, which has quickly racked up millions of streams online. III Points might be your last chance to catch Uchis before the rest of the world discovers her. 10:45 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, October 13, on the S3ctor 3 stage.